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Conmen bribe alcohol buyers in Ajman

Blackmailers are targeting people buying alcohol in Ajman and demanding huge sums of money in return for not calling the police, expatriates have said.

Dubai: Blackmailers are targeting people buying alcohol in Ajman and demanding huge sums of money in return for not calling the police, expatriates have said.

The con artists have followed customers into Sharjah, flagged them down and asked for up to Dh10,000. Several people have reportedly handed over the cash to the men.

John Lawford, 33, a Briton, said his 60-year-old father was almost forced to give Dh4,000 to the men after he legally purchased alcohol at an outlet in Ajman.

Once he reached Sharjah, the men repeatedly flashed their headlights and made him stop by the roadside.

"They showed him a dent in their car and said he had done it, although my father's car didn't touch theirs. They said he had to pay them and if he didn't because he was in Sharjah carrying alcohol, he would have to go to prison," he said.

When Lawford's father protested he did not have Dh4,000 on him, the men said they would frogmarch him to an ATM to get the money.

"My father called me and asked me what to do. I called the police who said not

to give them any money," he said.

The men, who Lawford said were "very calm" throughout, eventually left without money.

Lawford's father was buying alcohol for his departure party as he is leaving the UAE after nine years.

"These people are pulling a scam and my father was very upset by it all. He was shaking. He couldn't believe it was happening to him. He was worried this guy would be chasing him home," Lawford said.

After the incident, which happened on Thursday last week, Lawford said he and his father heard of four similar attempts to con people, mostly Westerners, with demands for Dh2,000, Dh4,000, Dh5,000 and Dh10,000.

On at least two occasions those targeted handed over the money.

An official at Ajman Police toldGulf Newsthat non-Muslims can buy alcohol for personal use only from outlets in Umm Al Quwain, Ajman, Dubai and Abu Dhabi if they have a liquor licence.

He added that non-Muslims who have legally bought alcohol are allowed to transport it for personal use only in their vehicles through any emirate, although they must not be under the influence of alcohol behind the wheel.

A Muslim found transporting alcohol could face police action, and the official said there were cases pending in which Muslims had been caught with alcohol.


Category: Trading

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